Goodwill Games Roundup
UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) _ For U.S. men’s swimming, it’s never been this bad.
Even when American women struggled in the pool with the rise of East Germany in the 1970s and China in the ’90s, the guys always found a way to win more than their share.
With the Olympics coming up in two years, it looks now like the men’s team has a long way to go to catch up with the women, are undefeated in two Goodwill Games dual meets. The men are 0-2 after a 78-43 thrashing by a World All-Star team Friday night.
``I saw my mom in the stands and she made eye contact with me and said, `Good job,‴ said Bill Pilczuk of Auburn, Ala., a world champion this year in the 50-meter freestyle, but third to two World teamers. ``I just rolled my eyes and said `Sheesh.‴
Wednesday’s loss to Germany was painful. This time, the defeat was downright embarrassing, with six 1-2 sweeps by the World team in 12 individual events.
``Americans come in to win every race, every day,″ said Josh Davis of San Antonio, one of the few U.S. winners. ``Wednesday was just a bad day in the office. It was an off day. We pride ourselves on having one of the strongest swimming programs.″
The Americans, who lost to Germany on the final race, the 400-meter freestyle relay _ an event they’ve won at every Olympics _ started OK against the World team by winning the 400 medley relay for a 7-0 lead.
But the World team then went 1-2 in five of the next seven events for a 46-24 lead that the Americans never challenged. Among the sweeps was in the 50 freestyle, where Pilczuk finished third behind Lorenzo Vismara of Italy and Ricardo Busquets of Puerto Rico.
``I would’ve liked to have another meet where it came down to the free relay, but it didn’t work out that way,″ U.S. men’s coach Bill Wadley said.
U.S. men traditionally included a wealth of speedy freestylers, but the embarrassment in the sprints continued with another World sweep in the 100.
Fernando Scherer of Brazil became the fourth man in history to break 49 seconds in the event, joining Americans Matt Biondi and Gary Hall Jr., and Russian Aleksandr Popov, the world record-holder at 48.21 seconds. Scherer was timed in 48.91, and Pieter van den Hoogenband of the Netherlands was second in 49.61.
``I knew I had swum a great race when I finished, but I wasn’t sure how good my time would be,″ said Scherer, who was fifth in the Olympic 100 free two years ago. ``I felt great until the last 5 meters, when my legs felt dead.″
The final indignity came in the 400 freestyle relay, as the World team, anchored by Scherer, won in 3:22.42 _ 2.73 seconds ahead of the Americans.
``This is the fastest pool I’ve ever been in,″ Scherer said.
Few Americans would agree, but there were a few U.S. highlights.
World champion Lenny Krayzelburg of Los Angeles won the 200 backstroke in 1:58.17, a Goodwill record and the ninth-fastest time in history. Davis captured the 200 freestyle and Kurt Grote of San Diego, Calif., won the 100 breaststroke.
``The World team is a lot stronger than the rest of the competition,″ Davis said. ``They have an advantage because they have some of the best in the world mixed on one team.″
World champions Elena Berezhnaya and Anton Sikharulidze of Russia won the gold medal in pairs figure skating, beating archrivals Artur Dmitriev and Oksana Kazakova. The bronze went to Dorota Zagorska and Mariusz Siudek of Poland.
There will be a new champion in women’s beach volleyball. Defending gold medalists Karolyn Kirby and Liz Masakayan of San Diego lost to Brazil’s top-seeded Shelda Bede and Adriana Behar 15-9.
Bede and Behar scored nine straight points for a 10-1 lead, then four of the last five points to wrap it up. In between, the U.S. pair scored seven of eight points with play that brought back visions of their days at the top: an ace, three kills and a block by Kirby, and pressure behind Masakayan’s serve.
``Once we started getting points, it was really the old Liz and Karolyn started coming back, where we started gaining some confidence and we had something we could work with,″ the 37-year-old Kirby said. ``It’s just too bad we didn’t think of that a little bit earlier.″
Masakayan and Kirby’s last chance of advancing to Saturday’s semifinals ended when Pauline Manser and Kerri Pottharst of Australia beat winless Kristine Drakich and Guylaine Dumont of Canada 15-8.
Also reaching the final four were Americans Holly McPeak and Lisa Arce, who beat Maike Friedrichsen and Danja Musch of Germany 15-11, and Italy’s Laura Bruschini and Annamaria Solazzi.
As boxing prepared to crown its first champions, four referees and judges accused of bias against Russian boxers were suspended by AIBA, the international amateur boxing federation.
Suspended for the rest of the games were referee-judges Macario Sosa of Guatemala and Alfredo Toledo of Cuba; referee Per-Olaf Larsson of Sweden; and judge Dieter Mika of Germany.